“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. – Matthew 7:13-14 ESV
How are you doing? How many times a day, a week a month is that asked of most people? And your response? Too many living today equate their COMFORT LEVEL, their SUCCESS LEVEL on this earth- their ability to ability to ACQUIRE and ACCUMULATE stuff- to their walk with God. If I am acquiring and accumulating STUFF then I must be doing well, GOD IS BLESSING ME, He must be pleased with what I am doing- for my life is going well, it’s EASY. And when Life is a STRUGGLE, it is more hardship then pleasure and peace- then “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Those terrifying words occur in two Gospels; Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 — as Jesus is hanging on the cross near death. This belief is NOT GOOD theology and it is NOT necessarily true!
Leader, scripture is replete with a different theology! The Bible has four books dedicated to describing Jesus’ earthly life and ministry; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is amazing, how much the Gospels focus on the last week of Jesus’- His Death! A third of the Gospels is devoted to the PAIN, RIDICULE and SUFFERING of JESUS: 1\3 Matthew, from Matthew 21-28, 1\3 Mark, from Mark 11-16, 1\4 Luke, from Luke 19-24, John- about 1\2, from John 12-20. The Gospel of John is the most concentrated upon the last week of Jesus- and it is called the GOSPEL OF LOVE! Even MORE FOCUSED: nearly a third of the Gospel of John is dedicated to one day, from John 13-19. There is a total of 89 chapters from all four Gospels. Of those chapters, 29, is on the final week. These statistics led Andy Naselli to say, “The Gospels are essentially passion narratives with extended introductions. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. (John 15:18-20)
Conduit, Jesus- the SON OF GOD, OUR WAY, our example was called, “The Man of SORROWS”, a man familiar with GRIEF, He was REJECTED and DESPISED, He was oppressed and afflicted; Read Isaiah 53. What did Jesus do wrong? And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23) He also said if you want to FOLLOW HIM, you must; hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life. (Luke 14:26) He told us to DIE DAILY, and many times to PICK UP OUR CROSS! NOT FUN, not comfortable and NOT EASY! And if there is any doubt what kind of life on this planet Jesus is telling a TRUE BELIEVER, he\she will have, the book of James will remove it! James was the half-brother of James. A man who early on believed Jesus was crazy- see Mark 3:20-22 – and he later become the leader of the Jerusalem church, his book was the FIRST NEW TESTAMENT book written, it is considered the most PRACTICAL, he said: You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4). John also states the same thing in 1 John 2:15-17. The world is growing in its hatred of Christians, so why give your love to it instead of following Christ, who loves you and has redeemed you? Today, remember your FIRST LOVE and get a DIVORCE from the WORLD! And remember, not every blessing we get on this planet is from God! The only proper response to HOW ARE YOU DOING? I AM in the HANDS of GOD! It’s ok to struggle!